The 2013 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, one of the showpiece events on the ATP tour, is all set to start on Monday, with three of the four biggest names in the world of men's singles tennis competing for the prize.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic, World No 2 Andy Murray and World No 5 (and eight-time defending champion) Rafael Nadal are expected to play. All three players have received byes into the second round of the tournament and, should form as dictated by seeding hold true, Murray will face off against Nadal, who enjoys an absolutely phenomenal reputation at the event, in the semi final.
World No 3 Roger Federer of Switzerland earlier confirmed he would not enter this tournament.
It is a daunting task for the British No 1, even if he is enjoying the best years of his career so far. Murray is coming off a back problem from earlier in the year, which caused him to skip the ATP Masters event in the Spanish capital of Madrid but he insists he is physically and mentally fine.
"It was just getting worse. I couldn't take it anymore. So that was when I had to take a couple of weeks off. But my back's not been affecting the way I play matches since the grass-court season. I have felt better over the last few days than I did coming into Monte Carlo last year," Murray explained on Monday.
Just to put the magnitude of Murray's potential challenge into context - Rafael Nadal has not lost a match at the Monte-Carlo Masters since 2003, when Argentine Guillermo Coria (now retired) beat him 7-6(3), 6-2.
Nadal has a 13-5 head-to-head record over Murray and has twice seen off the Scot's challenge at the Monte-Carlo Masters, in 2009 and 2011. Incidentally, both those occasions were in the semi final. And Murray's clay court game is certainly not his strongest suit, meaning any attempt to dislodge Nadal from his dominant position on the surface is going to require a very strong effort on the Scot's part.
Djokovic's Injury Woes
Meanwhile, Djokovic has injury problems of his own. The Serbian has an ankle injury, sustained during Davis Cup duties last weekend, which he believes is healing. However, he remained cautious about the chances of appearing for his second round match, which is scheduled for Wednesday.
"I've been practising for the past few days on the court and before that I was working on the rehabilitation, strengthening my ankle, and we're still in the process. Things are looking good. It's better than I expected it to be. I still can't 100 per cent guarantee that I will be on the court on Wednesday," the 25-year-old explained.
Djokovic will confirm participation on Tuesday evening.
Potential Second Round Fixtures
Assuming Djokovic does play, he will face either Mikhail Youzhny of Russia or Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain in the second round.
Murray will play either Dutchman Robin Hasse or qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin. As he progresses, he is also likely to play fifth-seeded Frenchman Wilfried Tsonga (in the quarter final). Other big names in his half of the draw are Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka  and Spain's Nicolas Alamgro .
Finally, Nadal will face one of the unseeded pair of Fernando Verdasco of Spain or Marinko Matosevic of Austria, with a potential quarter final with eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.